What is Low Dose Naltrexone?
Naltrexone is a drug approved by the FDA for alcoholism and opioid addiction treatment. It is a mu-opioid receptor antagonist. This means it works by preventing our body from experiencing the high/euphoric effects from drugs. By negating this effect, patients can reduce their addiction to heroin and other opioids. It also helps by reducing withdrawal symptoms from these drugs.
However, this is naltrexone at regular strength. Studies have shown that lower doses of naltrexone have a variety of uses. Many people take low dose naltrexone for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and autoimmune diseases.
How to Get Low Dose Naltrexone
There is only one way to get low dose naltrexone: with a prescription. Low dose naltrexone is also not available through a traditional pharmacy. Large pharmaceutical companies do not produce naltrexone at lower doses. The regular dosage size used for addiction is around 50-100 mg. In order to get lower doses, your prescription must go to a compounding pharmacy. Compounding pharmacies can develop naltrexone at any dose necessary. Lower doses are usually around 2-5 mg depending on the needs of the patient. Your pharmacist can work with your doctor to determine the optimal dosage size.
Ask Your Provider
Your doctor can give you more information about low dose naltrexone. If you were considering taking this medication for depression, pain, or autoimmune diseases, it may be worth while to bring it up to your provider. They will help you weigh the pros and cons.
However, while naltrexone at regular strength is accepted by the FDA, naltrexone at low doses continues to be studied. Because of this, some doctors may not be as informed about the recent success it has shown helping patients. If your provider is not comfortable with low dose naltrexone, it is possible to seek a second opinion. Functional medicine doctors usually have more experience with and are more open to prescribing low-dose naltrexone.
The site ldnresearchtrust.org also has helpful information when searching for a provider.
Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist
Our pharmacists have hours and hours of training and experience working with low dose naltrexone. In order to provide naltrexone, we need to complete extensive training regarding it’s uses for thyroid, autoimmune, dermatology, depression, and pain issues.
That being said, don’t be afraid to ask your compounding pharmacies about where they get their materials. You want to be sure that sources are reliable and trustworthy. Additionally, you can ask for something called a “certificate of analysis.” This document outlines the purity levels of active ingredients used by the compounding pharmacy. Any compounding pharmacy should be able to provide this certificate without hassle.
Become Informed About Low Dose Naltrexone
Before taking any medication, it is a good idea to become informed on the topic. Talking to your provider as well as your pharmacist can give you a good outlook on the benefits and drawbacks of low dose naltrexone. Additionally, there are support groups, both online and in-person, that can give perspective from people with 1st hand experience with the drug.
When you’re ready to move forward, ClearSpring Pharmacy will get you ready to go!